AMHERST, Mass. - Eleven student teams will compete for $10,000 in prizes and support for their business ideas during the first stage of the sixth annual University of Massachusetts Innovation Challenge on Thursday, Dec. 2. The executive summary and elevator pitch competition will be held at 3:30 p.m. in 1009 Campus Center. The event is free and open to the public.
The teams are vying in a contest designed to inspire and reward the best entrepreneurial business plans from UMass Amherst students, recent alumni and their faculty advisors. A second phase of the Innovation Challenge, featuring full business plans and investor presentations, is planned for April 28, 2011.
Michael Malone, Ronnie and Eugene Isenberg Distinguished Professor and vice chancellor for research and engagement, says, "It is terrific to see how this competition has grown since its inception. As we enter our sixth year the judges have awarded over $350,000 to 32 different teams, and have nurtured a number of young innovators who are now leading their own companies."
Innovation Challenge competitors are interdisciplinary student-alumni teams working with faculty and external advisors with pertinent expertise. Each team designs a new product and takes it from the scientific concept and technological design stage through a business plan and into commercialization. The months-long competition is open to teams that include at least one full-time UMass undergraduate, graduate student or recent graduate.
During the actual competition, team leaders present a two-minute "elevator pitch" and answer any questions from judges and the audience. In addition, each team has prepared a two- or three-page executive summary of the business plan and concept, which helps the judges determine an overall score.
This year, the competing teams are: 3D Therapeutics; Aha! Productions; Bacteriotix; Climate Risk Planning; Flexolyte; GreenAgency; GreenNav; Last Mile Wireless; Posytive; SDMFHM, and Safety through Green.
Teams compete for awards donated entirely by the private sector. Judges for the executive summary competition are entrepreneurs, legal experts and consultants who have volunteered their time in the weeks leading up to the competition to give teams constructive advice on their concepts and business plans.
The UMass Amherst Innovation Challenge is supported entirely with private donations from Eugene M. and Ronnie Isenberg and the following sponsors: Wolf Greenfield; Saint-Gobain; Joseph Bohan; Paul Carney ’82; CISCO; Forge Partners; Raytheon; VISTAGY; Wayne Boulais ’85, ’88; Stephen Dunne ’89; Michael Tunstall ’82, and Karen Lauter Utgoff Consulting.